With their Conference USA Tournament berth secure, Rice basketball fell at home to Charlotte in the final game of the regular season.
Head coach Scott Pera had employed six different starting lineups this season, generally keeping to a combination of Ako Adams, Quentin Millora-Brown, Chris Mullins, Jack Williams and either Josh Parrish or Drew Peterson for most of the season. On Senior Night, with a berth in the Conference USA tournament already secure, Pera put seniors Dylan Jones and Oliver Xu into the starting five.
Seldom used reserves, it was a nice gesture by Pera, who watched happily on the side of the court as Jones scored the first back of the night — also his first points of the season. Jones and Xu were soon replaced by the normal contingent as the two teams kept the score close throughout the first 38 minutes of game action.
With 4:15 remaining in regulation, Charlotte took the lead from Rice for good. Three consecutive Charlotte three-pointers quickly extended the lead to double-digits, the largest advantage for either team in the game. The Owls would cut it to seven, but never get any closer, falling by a final score of 78-70.
Robert Martin led the team with 15 points. Jack Williams had another solid showing, posting 11 points and six rebounds in the final home game of his career. The team as a whole shot 41.4 percent from the floor, failing to keep pace with a tremendous night from Charlotte’s Jon Davis who led all scorers with 28 points, adding nine rebounds.
Although the loss ends the regular season on a sour note, Rice has at least one more game to play. Rice’s first game of the conference tournament will be on Wednesday, March 13. The full bracket should be announced soon, but 11-seed Rice is tentatively set to face 6-seed Marshall. The Owls won the regular season matchup with the Herd, 74-69.
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